Neil Gaiman and producer/director Dirk Maggs are set to begin work on a new Terry Pratchett production for BBC Radio, RadioTimes.com can exlcusively reveal. The project is currently a closely-guarded secret, but in a recent interview with the website Maggs let slip that the collaboration is already under way.
When asked if he had anything exciting planned for the near future, Maggs replied, “Oh, yes. And it’s with Neil. And it’s Terry Pratchett” – before chuckling mischievously and refusing to discuss it further.
The project could either be adapted from an existing work by Pratchett or a piece of entirely new writing, but many fans will be hoping for an original Pratchett-Gaiman story. If Pratchett is to take an active co-writing role, this would be the first collaboration between him and Gaiman in more than twenty years. The two have not written together since their 1990 hit novel Good Omens, a black comedy about the apocalypse.
Gaiman and Maggs, however, have worked together more recently. Earlier this year, Maggs directed James McAvoy, Sir Christopher Lee and Benedict Cumberbatch in a Radio 4 adaptation of Gaiman’s fantasy novel, Neverwhere. Meanwhile, in London last Saturday Gaiman lent his vocal chops to Maggs’ latest project, by becoming the voice of the Guide in his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy live stage show.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Maggs was enthusiastic about his working relationship with Gaiman, and explained that they have a lot of common ground: “Neil and I both came from the world of comic books. He via journalism into comic books, I from radio into comic books. There was a period in the early 1990s when we were both being very creative in the comic book area. I was turning comics into radio productions where I was really beginning to try and bring the cinematic aspect to it, and Neil, of course, was writing Sandman around the late 80s, which was just a gobsmacking achievement.”
Talking about other future projects, Maggs didn’t rule out the prospect of adaptating Gaiman's acclaimed graphic novel series Sandman: “Sandman is tricky, because it’s DC Comics property, and it’s very complicated. It wasn’t Neil’s invention. He updated a 1930s character called Sandman, which is a very different character, I might say. However, there are plans to do more.”
Maggs has a good record in this field, having masterminded successful radio adaptations of Batman for Radio 1 and The Adventures of Superman for Radio 4 – despite both heroes being ‘tricky’ DC property. If a Sandman adaptation is given the green light, Maggs looks likely to be Gaiman’s producer of choice.
Several of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels have already been adapted for BBC Radio, most recently including Eric, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in March this year. However, the prospect of Neil Gaiman’s involvement means this new project – whatever it may be – is certain to generate a lot of buzz.